Spider Sabich to be inducted into Colorado Ski Hall of Fame

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 28, 2009 12:02 pm

Innovator, legend, victim of tragedy…these are some words people think of when they hear the name Spider Sabich. Spider, or Vladimir as he was born, has been called the Joe Namath of skiing, and on November 7th, he’ll be inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.

Sabich started his skiing career at the University of Colorado in 1962. It was only six years later that he beat Jean-Claude Killy in a World Cup slalom at Heavenly (for reference, Killy had swept the alpine gold medals at the 1968 Olympics). Sabich turned pro in 1970, but not before winning three more World Cup slalom podiums.

What really made Sabich special was how he made skiing cool. He helped turn skiing into something the cool kids wanted to get into. Billy Kidd raced with Sabich: “He was such an important part of American ski history, especially in that time (with) America really coming onto the world ski scene. He also was so colorful, so charismatic, so photogenic, so good with people, so good with the media. Spider was like Joe Namath in that he was really handsome, charismatic, great smile, the girls loved him, guys loved to be around him. But those of us who knew Spider knew he was kind of deceptive. He wasn’t drinking vodka tonics all night, he wasn’t up all night. He almost encouraged that idea about him — that he was a party guy, that all he had to do was show up and he could win the race. Spider really worked hard.”

Sabich’s life ended tragically when his wife, French actress and singer Claudine Longet shot him one night as he walked into their house. He will always be remembered, and it’s great to see his memory etched in stone in the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. You can read more about it here.